1. You’re HUGE!
This is normally accompanied by a laugh – ah wah ha ha ha! And sometimes pointing.
Yes, we all love to be laughed at, don’t we?! Ha – yes – I’m the size of a bloody WHALE! I could blot out the SUN!
What people seem to forget is that we are still women, still filled with insecurities and vanities, even after getting knocked up. And we still quite like to look nice, especially when we’re out of the house and have taken off our “house clothes” especially to see you. We have no control over the size and shape of our bump, unless we’ve been eating dohnuts solidly since day 1.
Actually I love my huge bump, I have no stretch marks, and its a nice neat shape. I love compliments and comments on it, just not about its enormous SIZE thank you very much!
2. Your baby will be HUGE! You better hope you have a LARGE PELVIS!
This often accompanies 1. It was followed in one case by a GP who said “what you need is one of those large African pelvises.” Which was helpful.
I have recently been offered an induction on the basis that my baby looks like it might be big and there might be problems with delivery, including shoulder dystocia. That’s a lot of “ifs”, and in my mind not enough to justify an induction, with all the inherent risks and delivery complications. So I don’t believe I’ve been reckless in saying no.
Let’s start with some basics. You don’t KNOW my baby is huge, no-one does until it comes out of me. I also can’t change the size or shape of my pelvis, although I know that it is actually DESIGNED to cleverly move and open to let my baby out. I know plenty of mums who were scared shitless by doctors telling them they’d have huge babies (some of them opting for inductions or caeserians on this basis) and actually ended up having 8-pounders. Scans can overestimate weight. And, if we trust our bodies and they created these babies, surely we can trust them to birth them too? If you read Ina May’s guide to childbirth there are plenty of HUGE babies born naturally, without pain relief and often with no tearing or episiotomies. In fact, practically speaking wouldn’t big babies be better at pushing themselves out quickly and easily?
And anyway what is the POINT of telling me my baby is big?! It only scares me and has no real benefit to me, other than making me google “shoulder dystocia” in a panic at 4am.
Anyway, now you’ve told me my baby is big, I am choosing to make it a positive. I have a big, healthy baby and that’s BRILLIANT.
3. Let’s just split the bill
Yeah sure! Much easier! I don’t mind paying £10 for each of the 3 sips of Rioja I had! It’s not like I have anything to buy right now, not like I need to budget for anything like maternity leave or essential baby clothes! Yeah, you go ahead and order your third round of digestifs, I didn’t need that cotbed anyway!
4. You’re giving birth next week? Oh my god, I / my friend / colleague had a NIGHTMARE birth… [INSERT NIGHTMARE BIRTH STORY HERE]
This isn’t a recent thing – my own granny told me on several occasions that giving birth was like having your leg amputated without anaesthetic. Thanks granny! WHY do other mums insist on doing this?! Don’t they remember what it was like to be about to give birth and be a bit scared? Do they think sharing battle stories will help?
I don’t need to know right now about the baby that got stuck, the organs that fused together with caeserian scar tissue, the pain and the agony and the panic. Yes, I’m realistic about what might happen, but you should couch all information right now in a positive way – that everything with baby and mum was OK. I want to be surrounded by positive birth stories please!
5. Get all the sleep you can now, you won’t be getting much later!
Good advice in theory, unhelpful in practice, given you need to get up 5 times a night to pee, are wedged uncomfortably on your side by a pregnancy support cushion which doesn’t allow for any movement, while being kicked constantly by a squirmy baby who decides to wake up between the hours of midnight and 5am. You might as well get used to insomnia now ladies.
6. Make sure you [go to the cinema / eat out / go for weekends away / insert other seemingly innocuous activity] now as you WON’T GET TO DO IT AGAIN FOR 18 YEARS!
No. I’d rather spend the entire day watching a Modern Family boxset on the sofa in pajamas while eating choc ices, thank you very much.
7. Wow, you’ve got some appetite!
Yes, at 38 weeks, my appetite is equivalent to that of an 18 year old rugby lad. I could literally stuff my entire body weight in carbs and chocolate in my gob right now, and I’d still want seconds. Now, pretend you didn’t notice, make yourself useful and go get me some cake.
An addendum to this is that pregnant women often cannot help but emit some rather embarrassing noises at this time, at no fault of our own. This includes farting, burping, hiccuping, and I once saw a pregnant friend involuntarily snort like a pig at the sight of chocolate. This is also best to ignore, and blame entirely on the baby.
8. You’re definitely having a girl / boy, I can tell by the [shape of your bump / colour of the moon / other completely unscientific method of detecting gender]
No you can’t. Shuddup.
9. Oh, so you’re OK to [drink that wine / have that coffee / eat that prawn sandwich] then? *frowns*
Well I was just enjoying my twice-weekly glass of vino, really loving the taste, savouring it – my little ray of sunshine in an otherwise shitty week. But now I’m worrying about harming the baby, thinking I’m a terrible mother, and suddenly it doesn’t taste as sweet and I might as well pour it back in the bottle. It would be nice to be trusted that I’ve read up all the advice and am making sensible, responsible choices for me and my baby, whatever you might personally believe.
Add to this the opposite which is “you aren’t going to be silly about eating this are you?” (while simultaneously placing an underdone piece of steak or similar on our plate). This makes you feel obliged to eat it even though you wouldn’t have chosen to do so otherwise, and are unlikely to enjoy it. Again, mums should be trusted to make their own choices about food and drink, whether or not everyone else agrees.
10. AND FINALLY…(on being told the intended name of the child in question)….Really? That’s the name you want?! I thought that was a joke name?!
Thanks mum xxx